Sometimes we can see prayer as the thing we do when we can't act. But read these words by Paul: "I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me." (Romans 15:20) Paul sees his prayer supporters not as passive observers, but as those who join him in his struggle. Paul was a minister and a missionary, he was going all over the known world preaching the gospel and planting churches. it wasn't realistic for him to ask everyone to get up and join him physically, but he did urge everyone to join him in prayer. Perhaps you work full time, perhaps you can't be on your feet very long, perhaps you have to juggle your whole family's schedules and needs. But you can be a real part of the mission and the ministry of the Gospel through prayer. Real? Really? In another letter Paul writes, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12). There is a real struggle beyond physical ministry that can only be engaged in through prayer. I have been there! Before I became a Christian I was shown amazing sacrificial love by the people of the church, heard the gospel more than once, given all the arguments that support Christianity, and yet I did not believe for two years. The Christian ministry was as good as perfect, but there was a struggle beyond what the ministers and the church could do without prayer, a spiritual blindness that only God could cure. I don't know how many people prayed for me, and how many times they struggled to keep praying, but I know that these prayers were a real part of the Gospel ministry through which God's power flowed to open blind eyes and disarm the powers of this dark world. Let me encourage you to pray for ministers and missionaries, that they would persevere, that in his grace the Lord will bring much fruit from their ministry. Pray also that we will persevere, truly knowing that we join their struggles in a real way through our prayers.
Inspired by the anonymously written welcome message in the Church Missionary Society (CMS) 2020 Prayer Diary. CMS is committed to the vision of a "World that knows Jesus". If you're looking for a missionary to pray for check out www.cms.org.au/get-involved/pray/